I Have To Keep A Neat House Because Clutter Triggers My Anxiety

December 18, 2017
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Staff writer for Scary Mommy, Wendy Wisner has written a piece explaining to followers that she likes to keep a neat house because clutter triggers her anxiety.

“Yes, I have an anxiety disorder. And sometimes that means I see the world a little differently than others do. The feeling that everything is about to fall apart and I must do what I can to put it back together is something I experience frequently. And for some reason, one of the ways that manifests is that excess stuff and clutter in my house drives me absolutely batshit bonkers,” she writes.

Wendy Wisner, Image from rolereboot.org

Wendy explains that she gets the urge to donate or throw out half the stuff she and her family own every few months in an attempt to keep the clutter at bay. She also explained that seeing her children’s toys on the floor at the end of a day is a big trigger for her anxiety, and despite her husband’s best efforts to help her, she thinks she does a better job at cleaning herself.

“Cleaning up clutter is not just another thing on the to-do list,” she explains saying that “It’s a full-on ragey kind of panic. It’s the feeling that I literally can’t breathe with all the clutter that’s filling our house. It’s a feeling that the world is a chaotic place that I can’t control, and all of that chaos is represented by the loud, unruly, angsty wreck that is my living room.”

Wendy thinks that perhaps her need for a clean home stems from her childhood, saying that she “grew up in a messy, extremely cluttered home” and that her mother was a stressed out single mother too overwhelmed to keep a tidy house all the time.

Wendy explains that as a child, she and her family moved around on numerous occasions and the family went through “custody battles, endless fighting and blaming and rage.” She goes on to explain that “maybe I’m trying to compensate for that. Maybe I’m trying to mend my chaotic childhood. Maybe I need to create order in my life — any order at all — just to feel okay.”

Image from Wendy Wisner Facebook

Regardless of the reasons behind how Wendy acts, she says that she has grown to accept it, as it is simply who she is. However, she is not purely a clean freak and lets her children create as much mess as their various activities warrants. “I let my kids get messy. I let them have playdates where every single item in their bedrooms is unearthed and played with. I let them paint; build things with blocks, clay, and even mud. I let them cook with me and send flour sailing across the entire kitchen floor.”

Image from Wendy Wisner Facebook

In saying that, she always has to clean up right away after her children are finished because if she doesn’t she gets anxious. But like any other working mom, she sometimes lets the house the way it is. “It’s pretty dang hard to keep the house in order. I don’t always bust my ass to get it together then. I leave messes out. I leave peanut-butter smears on the counter, a sticky spot of juice on the floor, dishes in the sink.”

Thankfully Wendy goes on to explain that the stress and anxiety she feels is not always that extreme and that she has learned “to let more and more slide over the years.” She also says that she doesn’t judge others on their mess or clutter, “I’m generally pretty content. No one else’s mess but my own seems to get under my skin.”

You can read Wendy’s full article on Scary Mommy here.

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